As a business owner, you know that SEO is important to stay ahead of the curve. But what do you need to include in your SEO reports for clients?
I remember when I first started my business, I had no idea how important SEO was. My website wasn’t ranking well on Google and I didn’t really understand why. A friend of mine suggested that I hire an SEO consultant to help me out. After getting some advice from a professional, I realized just how vital it was to keep my website optimized for search engines.
Since then, making sure that my website is up-to-date with the latest SEO trends has become one of my top priorities. And part of providing great service is sending detailed SEO reports for clients to update them on our progress together.
In this post, we’ll go over what should be included in these types of reports so that you can keep your own business ahead of the curve!
SEO Reports for Clients
SEO reports show clients how their site is performing in search engines, and provide recommendations on how to improve their ranking. Reports typically include data on keyword rankings, organic traffic, and conversion rates.
What is an SEO report?
An SEO report is a document that outlines how your client’s website is doing, and how your services are improving it.
Depending on your client’s needs, you may want to provide the following information:
- Organic traffic
- Keyword rankings
- Channel performance
- Bounce rates
- Time on site
- Link acquisition
- Website health
- Page speed
- Competitor performance
- Sales transactions
An SEO report is a document that provides evidence of the return on investment (ROI) from an SEO campaign and shows the progress that has been made. This report is essential for anyone working in SEO, as it demonstrates to clients or upper management the value of their work.
By analyzing your current strategies, you can get a clear picture of what’s working and what needs to be improved. This allows you to make necessary changes and develop a plan for the future that will help you stay ahead of your competition.
It’s best to keep your reports simple.
Keep your writing clear and concise.
An SEO report is a great way to keep your clients informed of your website’s progress. By providing a summary of key metrics and then giving more detail further on in the report, you can ensure that your clients are kept up-to-date with your website’s SEO performance.
The right SEO report tools can make all the difference when it comes to offering clients a better experience.
For most agencies and businesses, putting together those monthly or quarterly reports is one of the least enjoyable parts of their job.
These critical reports are tedious to put together and can often leave you feeling frustrated. You must be detailed and professional in your reports to show your clients that you are working hard on their behalf.
But most of the people who you report to probably don’t care about the details of the report.
They want a brief report, to the point, and easy to understand.
What should you include in your weekly or monthly SEO report?
What should you not say?
What information does your manager or client need to hear?
How to Build Your SEO Report
There are many different ways to build your reports. For our example, we will use:
- The client’s Google Analytics for overall and organic traffic
- SEMrush for keyword data and backlinks
- BuzzSumo for social shares of content
Instead of using SEMRush, you can use Ahrefs for SEO analysis. You can also use another social listening platform like Social Animal instead of BuzzSumo. For web analytics, your clients should have both Google and HubSpot to accurately track their web traffic.
We prefer Google Analytics because it’s what we’re familiar with. But Hubspot is also a good alternative. Other analytic tools are acceptable as well.
The data itself is more important than the platform you’re using.
Step 1: Create a New Document
The easiest way to start an SEO report for your client is by copying an existing one from a previous report or a free template. This way you won’t miss any important details or data.
If you’ve never created a report like this before, or if this is a report for a new client, this is a great chance to add in any extra information that you think will be relevant to their goals.
Feel free to work through this report in any order you want. It’s yours.
As you create your report, be sure to include all of the necessary sections. A helpful tip is to change the color of any text you have not yet rewritten to red so you can easily identify which parts still need work.
Step 2: Run Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an essential tool for any SEO professional. It provides detailed insights into which pages on a website are generating the most traffic and where that traffic is coming from. This information is vital for understanding what content is resonating with users and driving results for a business.
While tools such as SEMRush and BuzzSumo can give you an idea of which pages on your site are attracting the most attention, their information is only an estimate, not data that’s being directly pulled from your site.
If your clients are already using the HubSpot CMS, you can ask them to grant you access to their dashboard.
Two years ago, HubSpot made major changes to its Analytics tool. The updates made it comparable to what you find on tools like Google’s.
We compared HubSpot and GA data for a client and found that they were almost identical. The interface was easy to use, and the client was able to understand what was going on.
We can only assume it’s gotten even better.
First, we compare the traffic from the previous month to this one.
As an SEO, you’re not solely responsible for driving all of the traffic to a website. But it’s helpful to have a baseline here to measure how it’s performing against other sources. That’ll give you a better idea of what needs to be improved.
If you’re noticing a dip in traffic, it can be helpful to take a look at your referral traffic. This can give you an idea of whether the problem is with your referral sources or if you’re losing organic traffic.
To see the overall change in website traffic, open GA and go to Audience > Overview.
In the top right corner of the app, change the dates to the time frame you’re investigating.
If the client hasn’t specified, you’ll probably compare this month to last month.
Double-check the date range after clicking “Apply” to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.
Because images tend to be more effective for demonstrating data, we include lots of them in our SEO reporting.
Now, it’s time to check your organic traffic. This is where you’ll really be able to shine as an SEO.
This is where you get to show off.
To find your sources of organic traffic, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium on the left.
Now, let’s talk about what you should include in your report. Make sure to include any conversions from the client’s website, such as form submissions or purchases.
Setting up conversion tracking for your clients is a great way to help them understand which referrals are driving the most sales. This can help save the client time and money by showing them which sources aren’t generating any revenue.
For this part of the analysis, focus solely on Google organic traffic. If the client has specified that you also want to include other search engines, such as Bing or Yahoo!, be sure to include those as well.
While you’re looking at this client’s analytics, take note of how much of their website traffic is coming from Google / Organic. This isn’t necessarily the case for each client, but it’s good to keep this in mind.
While you’re here, note down how much of your web traffic is from organic searches.
Organic traffic to a website should be high and should make up a decent portion of the overall website traffic.
As time goes on, your SEO efforts will bring in more organic search traffic to your website, which can help keep your overall website traffic more steady when your client runs sales, ad campaigns, or gets traffic from backlinks and PR placements.
This is where you describe the changes in your SEO rankings from month to month.
- Did organic traffic increase?
- Did organic traffic decrease?
- What are the reasons for these changes?
This is a good time to mention any big wins or successes that your team had last month.
Let’s say the client topped more than 1,000 organic sessions in one week. That’s definitely a milestone worth pointing out. Add a screenshot and an explanation of the dates to your report.
Top Organic Pages
Now, we take a look at the data for your most popular post from the past month. We remove comparisons to previous months, so we’re looking at only the data for the current month.
Once you’re done unchecking that box, be sure to click “Apply”.
Now, you need to determine which pages on your site are driving the most traffic.
Go to the “Secondary Dimension” menu.
Click on the “Behavior” option from the list.
Select “Landing Page” from the drop-down.
As the page is loading, you will be presented with the top 10 most visited pages of your site. You can also expand this to 25, 50, 100, etc. to get a more comprehensive overview of your top-visited web pages.
If the client has conversion tracking in place, definitely make sure to include it in your screenshot.
Below this graph, include a summary of the changes in rankings from month to month. Did one post or page drop in the ranks?
Is anyone else’s conversion rate going up? Is anyone getting a lot more sales?
This concludes your Google Analytics course. Now, let’s look at some ways you can increase your conversions with social proof.
Step 3: Run BuzzSumo
Some clients aren’t as concerned with social media sharing, so they won’t spend time worrying about it.
For anyone looking to build their personal brand or increase their online visibility, it’s an important metric to track.
Using data from your BuzzSumo account in content marketing can help you see which topics are resonating with your readers. The more engagement you get, the more people will remember that post.
In BuzzSumo, we want to look at the top shared articles of the past month, as well as the top-performing ones of the past year.
If you’re unfamiliar with BuzzSumo, it’s a tool you can use to track how your content performs in the short and the long term.
If you want to get the most out of your subscription, head over to the “Content” page and select “Web Content Analyzer” from the dropdown menu. This will let you see exactly how well your clients’ websites are performing.
When the page finishes loading, enter the website address of your client into the search box and hit “Enter” or “Search.” This will show you where their site stands in terms of SEO and what improvements can be made.
The date range can be adjusted under the Search Field to span anywhere from 1-30 days ago, last year, or two years ago.
After you take screenshots (if the data shows), change the parameter to the “past year.” If there’s no information, you can extend it to the “last two years”.
Give an update on both of these charts. If one of them was down, mention it.
If some older pieces of content or blog posts gained more traction, or if some pieces fell off the list, say so.
Here’s another cool thing you can do with an SEO report for your clients.
While you’re working on your reports, why not get some insight into what types of content and topics will best resonate with your target audience?
Content analysis on BuzzSumo can be a great way to determine what topics to write about in your future blog posts.
One of our clients found that their “how-to” posts are getting more engagement than other types of blog posts, such as “why this” or “why that”, or listicles.
If you want your social media manager to have an easier time, why not create some ideas for the content you’ll be posting next quarter?
Other tools, like Social Animal, can provide this information, but it may take time before the data is populated. We learned the hard way that both BuzzSumo and Social Animal can be very slow when it comes to collecting data.
One reason that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may not show all shares of your content immediately, or there may be a sudden spike in your share count when there wasn’t a clear reason, is because of the high volume of data that these social media platforms have to handle. It is possible that amid all this information, some posts get lost or mislabeled which can then lead to these inconsistencies.
Step 4: SEMrush
Now, let’s move on to the exciting (and most frustrating) part of this whole process — the keyword rankings. As a general piece of advice, we urge our clients not to get hung up on the daily fluctuations.
Even though you may be doing okay month to month, there can be significant fluctuations in your numbers.
When reviewing data, always be mindful of the details while also trying to get a broader perspective. This will help you to see the full picture.
Monthly reports are a good way to get an overview of the month and to track any trends or changes.
Don’t watch your stats every day. It’s too stressful.
What we’re going to look at are the organic rankings for keyword phrases that your company is ranking for. These are found in the left-hand column.
Under “Domain Analytics”, click on “Organic Research” and you’ll get a pie chart.
To view all of the keyword rankings for a given client, click on the “View all X” link in the bottom left corner.
When the page finishes loading, you should see a graph at the top of the page, but below that, there should be a larger list. The easiest way to get this information is to copy and paste it into Excel.
This is a great way to organize your data! You can keep any notes that you think are relevant to your conversation with the client, and delete any information that you don’t need. Having a time stamp is useful too!
On the right side of the screen, click “Export.” Make sure “All” is highlighted, rather than “the first 1000.” Then, press “Excel” on the bottom.
An Excel file will automatically download. If you don’t have Microsoft Office, you can open this file with Google Sheets.
When opening the Google Spreadsheet, there will be many unnecessary columns that are overwhelming. As such, it’s best to delete these extra rows.
Delete everything except:
- Previous Position
- Search Volume
- Keyword Difficulty
Drag the Competitors’ URLs just to the left of the URL Column, so that the URLs come at the end of the list. This will make it much easier to keep track of your competitors.
We always like to include a screenshot of the Top 30 Keywords.
It’s always a good idea to include a link to the full spreadsheet so your client can see their entire list of keyword rankings.
No matter what method you use, be sure to attach a spreadsheet to your email that lists all of the keywords you’re tracking.
In the analysis, it is important to tell the client about any changes in keyword rankings from the previous month. This will help them understand if they have lost or gained keywords overall.
What if we shoot for the top 10 spots, and even the #1 ranking? Could there be a recent Google update that would explain any changes in our rankings?
Make sure to keep your client updated on any progress made in regards to their keywords. If any keywords are ranking high and are transactional, it could lead to a higher chance of sales.
If you’re looking to keep your business ahead of the curve, then make sure to include detailed SEO reports for clients in your monthly reporting. By doing so, you’ll be able to show them exactly how much progress has been made and where improvements need to be made.